Let's look at 10 vintages in Margaret River to find which wines fared the best, where to find value in the great vintages, and what to look out for in some of the more variable vintages.
The main grapes planted in Margaret River are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion, and Shiraz.
Generally, Margaret River has a dry growing season, but if rain hits in the autumn, it can cause some issues with fungal disease in the vineyard. Having too much heat can also be problematic for the more elegant white wine styles, and getting that balance right makes for perfect vintages.
How Wine Folly Rates a Vintage
We gather the facts about a vintage and how those features affect the wines. This way, you can better find the vintages that fit your needs (whether you're a collector or looking to drink now).
Generally speaking, the more consistent the vintage, the better the quality.
The crop consistency determines the quality of a vintage. In some years, we see average to high consistency; consistency equates to quality.
On other vintages, quality is much more variable. In these variable years, it's best to look for producers who consistently produce high-quality wines because they can roll with difficulties growing grapes.
Ideally, producers want consistent temperatures year in and out for consistent quality. Of course, this is not very likely to happen as weather changes frequently. Rain during harvest, hail, and frost are key events that can create a difficult vintage.
Seasonal events include frost, hail, drought, and even wildfires. These events affect the quality or size of a vintage.
In warmer climates getting enough rainfall during the growing season is key for healthy grapes and ripening.
In cooler or more moderate climates, getting enough but not too much rain and getting the right amount of sunshine and heat are important for producing ripe grapes.
Contrary to popular belief, low volumes do not always equal high quality. Producers can have very high-quality years where volumes are also high.
The opposite is also true, where we might have low yields, but the quality may be low - due to disease in the vineyard or poor weather conditions.
So why do we care about volume? If there's more, it can lower prices, and the prices might be higher if there is less.